COMMUTERS are to be given refunds for rail and commuter services they have paid for but are not using.
The National Transport Authority (NTA) has spent weeks working on solutions to refund those who have paid for tickets but are not using them due to the lockdown.
The refunds will apply to those who have bought tickets for Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland, Bus Éireann, Iarnród Éireann and Luas.
Commuters who are to continue employment with their current employer will be offered free travel for a number of months.
The number of months of free travel will be equivalent to the length of time they have been unable to use their ticket as a result of travel restrictions.
At the point when the customer returns to work, or on expiry of their ticket, they will make arrangements with their employer, the NTA said.
They will be offered a choice as to whether the months-in-lieu are to take effect immediately, or whether they want to use them at a later date, the transport regulator said.
This could amount to a saving of €350 for someone not commuting for three months who pays €1,400 for their annual ticket.
Some travelling from Athlone to Dublin pays €4,960 for an annual TaxSaver ticket. If this person is not commuting for three months the saving could be €1,240.
For holders of TaxSaver tickets who will not be continuing in their current employment, a refund will be offered to cover the remaining period of ticket validity, from the time restrictions were put in place, the NTA said.
Where the customer wishes to receive a refund rather than a replacement ticket, it is still open to them to make a request via their employer under existing terms and conditions.
Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister Shane Ross said: “I am pleased that the NTA are making these arrangements for public transport customers who have been unable to use their TaxSaver tickets due to the current restrictions on travel.”
Mr Ross said times are tough for many at the moment. He said it was financially challenging as well as stressful, and he welcomed the refunds plan.